Ohmbach - Religion


With a fair amount of certainty, Ohmbach was as long ago as the Early Middle Ages the location of a church and a parish hub. At some unknown time, this parish passed into the ownership of the Archbishopric of Mainz. It is known for certain that Archbishop Willigis transferred the Church of Ohmbach into the ownership of Disibodenberg Abbey in 976. Hence, it seems unlikely that the church would have been owned only one year later by the Saviour’s Chapel (Salvatorkapelle) in Frankfurt, as it would seem to say in Emperor Otto II’s 977 document acknowledging such ownership. About 1250, the Benedictine abbey at Disibodenberg was dissolved, and the Counts of Veldenz bought up part of the monastery’s holdings. Among these was the parish of Ohmbach, which Count Gerlach V bequeathed in 1258 to Wörschweiler Abbey. In the time of the Reformation, the monastery was dissolved and its property passed into the ownership of the Dukes of Palatinate-Zweibrücken. This development applied only to the village then known as Ohmbach, and not to the then separate village of Weitersbach in the Free Imperial Domain (Reichsland) and later in the Electoral Palatinate Imperial pledged territory. Dwellers of both villages belonged in the Reformation’s early days to the Lutheran faith, but those in Ohmbach (Oberohmbach) had to convert in 1588 on Count Palatine (Duke) Johannes I’s orders to Reformed belief according to John Calvin (Calvinism). After the Thirty Years' War, religious freedom was theoretically possible, though the old relationships for the most part stood. In Zweibrücken-held Ohmbach, the Calvinist faith held its own. Lutherans were promoted by the Swedish kings who now ruled the Duchy – mostly in the towns and cities among officials – while Catholics enjoyed something similar on a lesser scale during the time of French King Louis XIV’s wars of conquest. In Electoral Palatinate-held Weitersbach, on the other hand, the Roman Catholic faith enjoyed strong promotion after the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, which ended the Nine Years' War (known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Succession). The upshot was that Ohmbach inhabitants all remained Protestant, whereas Weitersbach inhabitants all returned to Catholicism. The old Romanesque church had fallen into disrepair by the late 18th century and was replaced in the years from 1779 to 1785 with a Baroque hall church, although the mediaeval churchtower with its Roman spolia was largely preserved. The Calvinists united in 1817 with the Lutherans in the Protestant Union. In 1832, the old parish of Ohmbach was dissolved as the Protestant community was taken up by the church community of Altenkirchen. In 1954, within the deaconry of Kusel, the pastoral community of Herschweiler-Pettersheim was newly founded, to which also Ohmbach, Krottelbach and Langenbach belonged. The Catholic Christians got their own church in 1970, the Liebfrauenkirche (“Church of Our Dear Lady”). They belong today to the Church of Brücken with their chapel of ease in Ohmbach, while the Protestant church within the deaconry of Kusel functions as a chapel of ease of Herschweiler-Pettersheim.

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